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ratigan. "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. >> the financier and the lightweight. let's play hardball. good evening, i'm chris matthews down in washington. leading off tonight is the 28th time the charm for mitt romney? there's been 28 caucuses so far in this race and that's not including the territories. every time it looked like the loss could spell out mitt romney's status, he's pulled off the win. and every time he could put the race away, he's miffed. romney's people have outspent santorum an unbelievable 7-1. the polls close at 8:00 eastern tonight. msnbc is providing full coverage
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of the primary here on hardball, the rachel madow show. >> the other story is the teenager shot to death by a neighborhood watch. chuck todd's nbc political director and ed tore for new york magazine and the nbc political analyst as well. i want to start with chuck, our expert in-house. we'll go to our other expert out-house. tell me the story here. is this going to be the end of it, money against true believer, if you will? i'm sure we can match it up a number of ways. the guy with all the money without the authenticity or the guy with all the authenticity without the money? >> if it were that black and white, then there would be more of a definitive opportunity for santorum. but we can debate that in a minute. the bottom line tonight is that
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nothing is going to change after tonight. romney needs an exclamation point somewhere. tonight could have been big for him had he won mississippi. had he won mississippi last week, tonight would have been the exclamation point and then you would see people come out and say it's time to basically bring this airplane in for the landing, bring in the romney nomination for a landing. that's not going to happen tonight. instead i think a win tonight, and i think romney, 8, 10, 12 points, a big win like that, then wisconsin, april 3rd, is the moment of truth for santorum. do or die there. if he dies there, then that's the moment where romney gets to bring it in for the landing. i had charlie black on this morning. he's a romney guy. he said, after april 3rd, then it is appropriate to start asking rick santorum, what's your viability? >> it seems to me that romney can't land the plane with all the money he's got. he's got the looks, he's got the background. it's his turn.
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something is not there. when is it going to be there? >> well, chris, i'm not sure it's ever going to be there in the sense that it's very clear. again, we've been saying this now for so long but i guess it bears repetition. this is a guy who does not have a deep or meaningful or visceral connection to the republican base. it has been the case throughout his entire front runnerhood that he's not been able to motivate the people who now make up the republican party in the republican electorate. they are not in love with rick santorum, either, they really weren't in love with newt gingrich. they've tried on every possible piece of clothes and none of them ever really fit. romney seems, because of his resources, because of the way the calendar lays out, not just with illinois but heading into april, he's got a lot of races he should be able to put santorum away. if he doesn't pull out a big surprise in wisconsin, santorum won't win anything in wisconsin besides pennsylvania, which is his home state. i'm not sure how he goes through that straight month without
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winning anything. he's winning a war of attrition. that's what he's doing, but he's not winning the hearts and minds of the republican electric trat. >> chris, here's the deal. the republican party is looking for a transitional leader. the problem they have is mitt romney is a transitional leader and he's a transition inside this republican party where it is today. he's not even promising transformation of the republican party. he's not trying to bring it back to the days of when he and his father would have been more comfortable inside the old republican party. if they were, then you could say he's trying to be transformational. rick santorum is the one trying to make the case that he's the transformational leader, that a party who wants to transform itself needs, and that's mitt romney's struggle. >> the wall street journal's op-ed page, one of the journalists wrote this. if mr. romney could speak about obamacare the way mr. santorum does not simply as a policy
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disagreement but as a threat to our freedom, he would be locking up the nomination. >> he uses that reagan. chronic, and i've noticed he tries to say this election is about freedom. he tried this every day, the speech at the embassy in chicago. freedom is on the ballot. he's tried this. it's just not in him. i think you can do all the language crafting in the world, this is not who he is, it's not -- he is a fix-it guy. there's nothing wrong with that. that's who he is. >> we'll finish up quick and get to the ads and elements tonight. is that the way you see it, he's a fix-it guy, he is a man of heart and gut, he is a man of the mind who will fix things and meet problems as they occur, but don't ask him for a big philosophical reason to exist. >> his presidency would be an in-box, out-box presidency.
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he. >> the romney campaign and su r super pac 7-1 in illinois. here's a romney campaign ad launched friday in illinois. it goes after santorum. economic lightweight. something he's repeated on the trail. >> who can turn around the economy and defeat barack obama? not rick santorum. santorum's real weakness is the economy. he's never run a business or a state. his plan? economic illiteracy. inexcusable. the worst idea of the gop candidate. rick santorum. economic lightweight. mitt romney ready to lead the nation to a new era with the boldest gop era since ronald
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reagan. >> how much is that, $100 million for advertising, and they're talking like, hey, you frigging lightweight. lightweight. is this when kids were mad at each other in school? is this how far we've gotten in civility, they call each other that stuff? >> yes, i think so. and we discussed this on the project yesterday. i will note that in bro. remember hillary clinton. shame on you, barack obama. when you're tired, you get mean and petty and that's where these guys are. >> let's take a look at rick santorum. he drew criticism last night for saying he doesn't care what the unemployment rate will be. it's about bigger stuff than that. but he got trouble, let's watch. >> we need a candidate who is going to be a fighter for
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freedom, who is going to get up and make that the central theme in this race, because it is the central theme in this race. i don't care what the unemployment right is going to be. it doesn't hinge on employment rates or growth rates. there's something more. >> he was out there talking it on the stump. let's watch. >> the people running also for the republican nomination today says he doesn't care about the unemployment rate, that doesn't bother him. what kind of talk is that? one of the other people? >> just come up. just say, hey, look, i heard santorum say this. they're trying -- he's trying to pretend that he's not punching down, and i get it. that was so january. this is march. you know what i mean? that's -- >> late last night on fox,
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santorum will try to clarify if. it didn't matter what it was between, because the industry causing the unemployment, causing the economic distress in our country is the fact that the government is imposing its will and mandating things on people and creating a yoke on top of businesses that makes it hard to employ. >> okay. the difference -- for the average person who just came here for the moon, what's the difference between santorum and romney? >> philosophical and tactics. what santorum is trying to say is this isn't about the unemployment rate is high and i'm the best guy to run and this environment at this time. whoa, whoa, whoa. we're a republican party that has a philosophy, an idealogy. we're trying to decide from 6,000 feet, let's not have an argument over who runs best
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against barack obama. thank you, guys. about 8 points tonight for romney. but that's my gut. >> i've seen your head shake up and down. >> all i know is third. >> i haven't heard it. >> neither have i. >> i'm going by what i've heard for days now. i always root for the underdog in this business. the illinois closes tonight 8:00 eastern time, that means 700 out there in chicago. we may have results here. maybe, maybe, maybe. we'll certainly have results throughout the night beginning at 8:00. trayvon martin was the unarmed afternoon teenager who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch captain who says he acted in self-defense. this is murky as hell. the justice department and the fbi have launched investigations and now a grand jury is looking
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[ male announcer ] good choice business pro. good choice. go national. go like a pro. good news for president obama in nearby virginia. obama does now lead mitt romney in virginia by eight points, 50 to 42. that's significant. and against rick santorum, the president's lead stretches to nine, 49-40. hopes to keep his calm. this time this could have a big impact on who the vp is on the republican side. we'll be right back. [ tom ] we invented the turbine business right here in schenectady. without the stuff that we make here, you wouldn't be able to walk in your house and flip on your lights.
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the falgt shootital shootin unarmed black teenager has grabbed the attention of a federal grand jury. on february 26, trayvon martin
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was returning home from a convenience store when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer, george zimmerman. here's part of the 911 call zimmerman faced. >> we've had some break-ins in our neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy. this guy looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something. it's raining and he's just walking around, looking about. >> is he black or hispanic? >> he looks black. he's got his hand in his waistband. and he's a black male. something is wrong with him. he's coming to check me out. he's got z something in his han. i don't know what his deal is. >> we've got them on the way. just let me know if this guy does something else. >> okay. they always get away. >> are you following him? >> yeah. >> we don't need you to do that. >> okay. >> zimmer hman followed trayvon
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and an argument ensued. other 911 calls picked up screams and the fatal gunshot. you can hear it now. >> 911, do you need police, fire or medical? >> maybe both, i'm not sure. there's just someone screaming outside. >> is it a male or female? >> it sounds like a male. >> and you don't know why? >> i don't know why. i think they're yelling help, but i don't know. >> so you think he's yelling help? >> yes. >> what is your -- >> there's gunshots. >> days and weeks passed without charges being filed. almost 500,000 people signed an on-line petition in protest and last night the justice department opened an investigation into the case of the neighborhood watch volunteer. did he feel threatened as zimmerman claimed or was it a case of vigilante justice
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against a young man? congressman cleaver, i don't know what to say here except to ask you, how did you get involved in this case? what do you think we're looking at here? >> well, a group of law students from colleges and universities all over florida went down to jacksonville after the incident to offer assistance. one of the young women who is in law school was a parishioner in the grown ga the congregation i pastored in kansas city, and the family asked her to get involved. we immediately made a request for a justice department investigation, and it's one of the great tragedies. i think every african-american man with children can understand this particular kid. this kid was killed essentially because he was armed with skittles. it's one of those sad moments that causes all of us, i think,
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to realize that we still have some major problems in this country. suspicion is so easily received if it's based on skin color. >> yeah, but this wasn't an officer of law involved, and i think i want to ask you, you've bin looking at the case, what is your main concern for bad behavior or perhaps serious criminal behavior on the part of mr. zimmerman and the police down there? was it the fact that a non-police officer, a civilian in a neighborhood watch organization, was armed? was it the fact that he followed what he thought was a suspicious person or that he used lethal force in some kind of confrontation of some kind or he simply executed the person? what is your sense of what happened here and what do you think was done wrong here point by point? >> everything. first of all, once the police department told the gentleman through the dispatcher, we don't need you to do that, we don't
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need you to get involved in this, that's the point that the average citizen, the average man or woman of good will, would stop. the kid is screaming for help. we hear the gunshots. i even hate to hear it anymore. and then maybe the worst thing that i heard the man say was they always get away with it. so i'm thinking, you know, he's determined now not to let this kid get away. i think that was the point that he was -- had made the decision of what he was going to do, and i think the justice department is going to find out what happened and what the sheriff did wrong. let met tell you one other thing very quickly. i was mayor of kansas city for eight years. we have not had an incident like this in kansas city in a couple of decades. one of the reasons is we've had good police chiefs, but if a police officer shoots a civilian, even if it's justifiable, if it's a justifiable shooting, the police officer is immediately suspended with pay.
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this man was able to shoot and kill a kid and then walk away with his gun. >> i know. i even watch police stories in northern cases like philadelphia, new york, the administrative leave is a normal m.o. for a police officer using his professional discretion. in ten or twelve states now, 16 states now, we have something called a stand your ground law, which means if you're in a confrontation with somebody, regardless of the circumstances, and you feel threatened, you don't have to try to get out of it. you can pull your gun and kill the guy. and that's the defense. >> and i think that's one of the main things that turned this from an ordinary racially charged, i would say, racist encounter between this guy and trayvon martin into a tragedy was the fact that he could, with basically impunity, at least thus far, shoot the guy if he
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could credibly say, i felt threatened. he can credibly say that because apparently, at least according to local authorities, there were not witnesses. now we do know that there were people who may have heard something that was going on, and we'll see what the investigation comes up with. >> we have to get all this in here. sabrina, trayvon martin's mother, spoke with matt lauer and described what she believed motivated the attack. this is what she believes. >> what do you think he was reacting to? >> he was reacting to the color of his skin. he committed no crime. my son wasn't doing anything but walking on the sidewalk. >> you know, i go back to this, congressman, when you investigate this, do you think there is abuse done by the local police authorities in not pursuing this case aggressively or what? where do you think the federal role here fits? >> first of all, i need to say this because we don't say this
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enough. the things that should have happened a few weeks ago are happening now, and i'm thankful for that. the justice department responded, they are down there, we have people on the ground from the human relations division of the justice department trying to make sure that we don't have an explosion of emotions in sanford, and, chris, about two hours ago, i stood beside the white republican mayor of sanford, florida who, along with myself and corinne brown, the congresswoman from the area, spoke at a press conference about the need for the justice department to come in and conduct an investigation not only of the shooting but of the police department. and so the things that -- 25 or 30 years ago if this had happened, we would only have had black people out trying to get justice. but now i think people of good will from all walks of life are saying something unjust happened. >> another element here is a 16-year-old girlfriend of
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trayvon martin, the guy that was killed, was on the phone with him during the incident and she described what she heard in an interview on "good morning america" earlier today. let's listen to that. >> he said this man was watching him so he put his hoodie on. then the man said, what you doing around here? then somebody pushed trayvon because the headset just fell. >> there is evidence, or testimony, that there was some kind of shoving or altercation going on there at the time. i think everybody is fairly trying to figure out if race is involved because of the way he is talking, but also, this is a guy trying to act like a police officer. >> obviously. or apparently. this should have been investigated. this should have been investigated then and there, and maybe we would have had a somewhat different outcome.
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but again, you've got this legal setup. anybody can get a gun -- >> you raised the question. as a good journalist, you've give an question for mr. cleaver. mr. cleaver, do you think there is something fundamentally wrong with the stand your ground law? does it create an impetus for gunfire? >> well, i think when you have a gun on you, it gives you a sense of strength and power that you would not feel otherwise, and i think that people, human beings will tend to use guns when normally they would have walked away. and i think the stand your ground law is absolutely asinine that you can declare a confrontation almost with anybody and shoot them down. and if they're the only witness, you walk away. something has to be done. liberals might get angry with me on my moderate position with guns, but on this law, and the way guns are used, i think that
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there's no excuse for what happened. and that law needs to be changed, quickly. >> if you have both, you have a problem. if you have both readily available guns and a law that essentially takes away accountability for a shooting. if nobody saw it, there's no accountability. >> then you have a neighborhood watch system where a guy brings a gun out on watch. >> you are asking for trouble. >> it's just toxic. thank you so much for coming on the program today. thank you, as always, eugene robinson. the parents of trayvon martin will be on the "today" show tomorrow morning. the polls close in illinois at 8:00 eastern. we'll be reporting on that. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ donovan ] i hit a wall.
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log on now to and you could pay as little as ten dollars a month for androgel 1.62%. what are you waiting for? this is big news. so what is this that rick santorum's candidacy says about the republican party? arlen specter was a member of
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that wing for many years before changing parties in 2009. he served alongside the senator in pennsylvania for 12 years. senator, welcome to "hardball." someday we could be debating but here we are discussing it civilly. you are the kind of congressman i grew up with. all over new england. they're all gone, practically. olympia snow just quit. arlen hatch is being accused of being a liberal. your party is part of the right wing party. >> no doubt about it, the moderates have been exiled. bob bennett is not pure enough. mike castle loses to a woman who has to declare herself to be a witch. and when olympia snow and susan collins voted against disclosure of these corporate and union expenditures, there's no moderate left on the republican
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side of the united states senate. >> and so the party of lincoln became the party of strom thurman, hasn't it? is that too rough? >> it won't become the party of rick santorum, however, it's gone so far to the right, but i don't think it's gone so far as to make rick santorum the nominee. >> here rick santorum was asked about his endorsement of you in the presidential race in '96. i remember when you ran. here's what he says. >> why did you support arlen specter for president? >> well, you know, when your colleague is running for office, and i was his colleague in the united states senate, he asked had he to stand with him. that certainly wasn't one of my prouder moments i look back on, but look, you know, you work together as a team for the state of pennsylvania, and, you know, i felt that senator specter had stood up and supported me, and
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when i was running in 1994 and i did likewise, i certainly knew arlen specter was going nowhere, i certainly disagreed with a lot of the things he said, and it was something i look back on and wish i hadn't done. >> now we have inquisitions in the republican party. you have to recant like a medieval church. you have to say, i did not believe that. that wasn't my proud moment. that wasn't me. and that's all these guys do now. anything that sounds moderate or reasonable. charl charlie crist hugged the president and he lost his seat because he contacted the president once. this is what's happened to your party. >> it hasn't gone so far as to make rick santorum the republican nominee. when rick takes positions that women don't belong in the workplace, when he takes positions that the gay issue is
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bestiality, man on dog, and contraception ought not to be followed, he is so far out of the mainstream that i think even the republican party won't take him. >> do you think there is going to be a whipback, a pushback on the far right? because the tea party seems to be calling the shots in congress, and boehner doesn't seem to be able to control them, and canter. those guys are at the top but they're not running the show. guys like mitch mcconnell stay on the top by playing to that crowd. >> you can go to the right, far right, but you can't be far out. and when -- >> senator, you're trying -- look, you're trying -- these clowns don't believe in revenue. they don't believe in government taxation. they think there is something evil about taxing people. they don't believe in government. how can you believe in government and not taxes? >> well, i'm not going to dispute with you, but their policies are wrong. when i supported the stimulus package, there were
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irreconcilable differences between the republican party and me. and it is true that they have driven olympia snow out and susan collins is very afraid of a primary when she comes up. >> in maine, yeah. >> so in the presidential race, the potential nominees have gone to the extreme right. and that's not going to be satisfactory with the american people. listen, when the people of pennsylvania found out about rick santorum, he lost in his reelection 59-41. >> i'll say it now. you as a moderate republican fit pennsylvania like a glove for 30 yeerds. there is something like a state that likes having moderate republicans like you and tom ridge and hue scott and the northeast should represented by moderate republicans. >> but the moderates left the republican party when the clinton-obama race came up in 2008, 200,000 moderate republicans left. >> you're making my case.
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thank you for coming on "hardball." we're going to talk about that book. there it is, "life among the can balances cannibals." who are the cannibals? >> steven castle and bob bennett. >> can rick santorum pull off an upset tonight in illinois? this "hardball" coverage covers the illinois primary today, only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] when your child has a fever,
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and poor's at 4.23 and the nasdaq dropped. housing prices slipped 1.1% in february while building prices surged more than 5%. after the closing bell, oracle said it earned 62 cents a share in the third quarter, beating analyst estimates. that's cnbc first worldwide. now back to "hardball." big political story tonight. welcome back to "hardball." polls in illinois will be closed at 8:00 eastern and the contest between romney and santorum is getting more and more heated. romney called santorum an economic lightweight and santorum called romney a financier. listening to them speak, it is
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as if they're seeking entirely different offices. the chicago tribune wrote that romney is attempting to woo the conservative way into the republican party while santorum is going for the social conservatives. who will win out? gentlemen, let's take a look at these elements. the candidates faced them yesterday. let's watch. >> i'm someone experienced in the economy. i'm not an economic lightweight. president obama is. we're going to have to replace him with someone who knows how to run this economy. >> santorum came back with this using a clash based technique. >> i heard governor romney called me an economic lightweight because i wasn't a wall street financier like he
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was. do you really believe this country wants to electricity a wall street financier as president of the united states, someone who is going to take and look after, as he did, his friends on wall street and bail them out at the expense of mainstream america? >> a financier running for president? is that what your guy is? >> i don't know what financier is. >> it's a turnaround. >> yeah, but the way to win in illinois is a moderate like mark kirk did, winning overwhelmingly throughout the state. that's the message governor romney had. he's going to have a billig nig here, big win. i think you'll see a big change here in illinois. >> do you like the phrase lightweight? do you think that's a nice way to talk about a political opponent when you've been
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fighting it out after 24 fights? is that improving the dialogue or reducing it? >> i'll let the political consultants answer that. >> that's your candidate's lingo. do you like it? >> he's comparing him to president obama, and the reality is, when president obama -- that's why we're going to get someone in the white house who has some hands on business sector experience. >> had you ever met the president? do you ever get the sense he's a lightweight? i can understand a philosophical debate where you say, this guy, our president a lightweight? that's the least effective categorization of him, i would think. >> experiencewise, yeah, he is a lightweight. we lived with him a long time, chris. we had a lot of respect for him, we all liked him, but don't call him a lightweight on economic
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issues. >> let me talk to brady bender. this is so high school. go ahead. >> what it really comes down to is records, and what's a maze to go me is that romney is trying to present himself as a successful businessman and nobody has really looked at his record hard enough. >> he's rich. >> he is rich, you got to give him that. >> then he must be successful. >> as governor in massachusetts, they were third worse in job creation. >> did your guy ever make a quarter of a million bucks? >> romney has paid $13 for every vote he's got, santorum has paid $3 for every vote he's got. either romney is the worst businessman that he's overpaying or he's the worst candidate that he has to pay that much to get votes. >> this is something from the wall street journal. i think it speaks well to this campaign. if mr. romney could speak about obamacare the way santorum does not simply as a policy
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disagreement but as a wthreat t our freedom, he'd be locking up the nomination. >> i don't agree with that. we don't go to rallies and cry. we want someone who can fix the economy and lays out a specific agenda to do that. he doesn't have a spark, he's not emotional, nobody cares. we have a really bad economy nationally, we have a worse one here in illinois. we just want someone who is a competent manager of our economy. >> your response to that? he just said your guy cries. >> yeah, i think he's people are reducing the presidency to the commerce secretary or the labor secretary. we have iran moving quickly to create a bomb. we have china closing our manufacturing. all these things going on, this ridiculous debt, freedom is taken away and all romney wants to talk about is what labor statistics are. >> so your guy is a big thinker. >> i think there is no doubt about it. >> a bean counter against a big
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thinker. by the way, welcome to the show, sir. much more on the race in illinois. polls close at 8:00 eastern, and our panel is going to be there to preview all the action in about a minute. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. in the franchise to get the word out. that could work. or you could use every door direct mail from the postal service. it'll help you and all your franchisees find the customers that matter most -- the ones in the neighborhood. you print it or we'll help you find a local partner. great. keep it moving, honey. honey? that's my wife. wow. there you go. there you go. [ male announcer ] go online to reach every home, every address, every time with every door direct mail. lastin florida we hadulf's best tomore sun tans...years. in alabama we had more beautiful blooms... in mississippi we had more good times... in louisiana we had more fun on the water. last season we broke all kinds of records down here on the gulf. more people more good times. this year we're out to do even better...
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lead against scott brown. other recent polling showed brown with a lead in that race, of course. next, virginia. that race between former governor tim kaine and george allen. it's kaine the democrat with a 3-point lead. not a lot. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] it's surprising what your mouth goes through in a day.
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tonight in illinois, we're going to see the closest thing in a head to head contest between romney and santorum. we're also going to see if santorum plays in a major state with a diverse population. the polls close at 8:00 eastern tonight. here tonight, director howard
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feinman. we've got brand new exit poll information out of illinois and the illinois primary voters. we asked which candidate would most likely beat barack obama? not surprisingly, nearly all of romney voters, 93%, said they thought their guy was most electricimost electable. but 28% of santorum voters said they saw him beating obama. th >> i think some of those people buy santorum's argument, that you have to solidify the base, and if the base isn't really excited, isn't ready to walk through walls, then that's a weak position to be in against the president. >> tweedledum and tweedledee argument. moderate
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republican, normer governor of massachusetts, in the end, too much to excite the president. >> i think that's a fear for a lot of the base is when you get the two of them stacked up, despite arguments to make on healthcare and other things that similarities are too real for the base to stomach, so that's why you see the bifurcation in the polls right now. they are still pushing to get a conservative to the front of the line and to push through and to be the challenger in november. >> it just seems that, this is a great sort of human case of people, do i do what we are supposed to do to win or do we do what makes me feel really good when i walk out of the polling booth. >> it's the heart versus the head. that's where san forum is doing so well wp with those people who finally see a chance to have a real conservative nominee for, you know, in this party. and lead this party. they didn't have that chance with john mccain and they don't have it with bob dole. >> it was the good guy here. the guy with the heart. he is really pure. now we will find out what purity
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is. pastor dennis terry. let's look at what he is preaching from the pulpit he shares with rick santorum. >> as long as sexual perversion is becoming normalized, somebody needs to stand up and say, god forgive us. god have mercy upon us. as they continue to tear down traditional merits. listen, god intended for marriage to be between a man and a woman. and as long as they continue to attack marriage, somebody needs to take a stand and say, no, no, no with, no! enough. enough. >> that's the raw seed of the hurricane. that's what people are afraid of when they think of santorum. raw theocracy coming their way, perhaps.
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here the pastor came on to say christians are key to american revival. let's listen. same guy. >> listen closely. i tell you my friend, i believe that christians in america are the key to revival. i believe that christians in america is the key to the economy, turning around. i believe that christians in america is the key to the jobless rate, continuing to go down. i believe a spiritual thing. if we put god back in america, put god back in our pulpits. put god back in our homes and state house and vehemently in washington, then we can have revival in america and the holy spirit will show up and -- what happens for this country. >> this guy says, if you don't love america, don't like the way we do things, get out. we don't worship buddha, mohamed, allah. we worship jesus christ. this guy is selling it.
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how close can a guy get to the pulpit without looking like he is part of it. >> i don't think rick santorum cares. his secret service nickname is petris. >> for peter. >> for peter. which has everything do with the foundation of the catholic church. he is a member of opus day. he believes in a really strong role for relinlon in politics. he has had the blessing, laying on of hands repeatedly. he embraces almost every religious symbol, and all of the religious rhetoric. i'm just reporting it. >> we see it time and again in these pollings. catholics are not voting in numbers for him. they are voting against him. voting for romney. >> a lot of catholics are democrats too. >> i'm talk about in the republican primary. >> there is truth to that because of the evangelical element of what you just saw there that does not appeal to traditional catholics. even though rick considers himself, and is a interest
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traditional catholic. >> howard fineman, malika and michael steele are all staying with us. when we come back. l live tomorr. for more than 116 years, ameriprise financial has worked for their clients' futures. helping millions of americans retire on their terms. when they want. where they want. doing what they want. ameriprise. the strength of a leader in retirement planning. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you one-to-one. together for your future. ♪ who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. it raises your testosterone levels, and...
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we're back with msnbc howard fineman, michael steele and malika henderson. let's look at the response of the pastor's comments.
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let's listen. >> he is allowed to believe when a wants it believe. but i believe in freedom of religion and i think i have made that clear throughout my campaign. >> would you think he has made that clear with the separation of church and state? >> no web hasn't made that clear. the comment about the jfk speech, but he is walking hand in hand with the pentecostal preachers. he is in louisiana wednesday and thursday speaking as a church. he is introduced by pastors who talk about lifting him up in the name of jesus christ. so he knows what he is doing. this is his base. they are responsible for his surge. the question is, can he sustain it, and can he grow it in states like illinois with a more -- >> excuse me. is this a reality in your party, republican party as we go through this general election? this religious osity? >> no more than it was in 2008
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with romney. >> they can't demand -- they won't be able to demand in a role in this? you think they have the power to demand a role? >> i think it is somewhat wishful thinking on the part of the chair. >> it is. >> it is much more a part. >> this is a revival meeting. >> i guarantee you there will be an argument of what the stage looks like and if it looks too much like a church or not. >> what's in the party -- that's going to be an argument too. >> i don't think it'll rise to that level. wishful thinking on the part of my colleagues here. >> it is going to be pretty prayerful. >> where is that coming from? >> santorum. >> santorum, yeah. >> a guy with nothing going for him except this. >> you think romney will have to pick up the phone and ask santorum when a wants. >> you can't silence the noise in this country. michael steele hopes for silent prayer. that's "hardball" for now. politics wit

Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC March 20, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Illinois 16, Romney 16, Rick Santorum 15, Obama 5, Msnbc 5, Pennsylvania 5, Florida 3, Chicago 3, Louisiana 3, Mississippi 3, Olympia 3, Barack Obama 3, Massachusetts 3, Kansas City 3, Wisconsin 3, Michael Steele 3, Trayvon Martin 3, Alabama 2, T. Rowe 2, Chris Matthews 2
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